Improper emails in the workplace – etiquette to consider before sharing

Posted by Luke Mitchell on 17 September 2015
Improper emails in the workplace – etiquette to consider before sharing

Have you ever received an email at work and as you scroll down to discover the contents, every step of that email’s journey is there for the world to see as it has been sent on from group to group, collecting large volumes of email recipient’s addresses along the way, without any information being deleted prior to sending on to the next group. Whilst this may not be a problem if you receive these emails at home, if you receive them at work, or send them from your work email address, you may find you are in breach of your employer’s email use policy.  

While work email addresses are provided for use for work purposes, personal relationships do develop and exist inside and outside of the workplace which means the chance of emails other than for work purposes being generated and distributed is high.  Many of the emails will be harmless, but the line is crossed when offensive material is passed along via the work computer. You may receive this type of email knowingly or you may receive it as part of the on-forward process with no personal participation in approving or accepting this type of email being received. 

The Fair Work Commission has dealt with a number of cases where an employee has been dismissed as a result of having distributed an offensive email.  As social media connections for work purposes grow through professional networks such as LinkedIn and also on Facebook, it should be remembered that when sending an email from your work email address or engaging others through social media networks on behalf of your employer, you are subject to the rules of the company policy which governs your workplace social media and email activity.